Long Beach Day Nursery’s executive director Whitney Leathers will leave her position at the end of the 2020-2021 school year June 30, the nonprofit childcare program announced this week.
Associate Executive Director Jennifer Allen, the program’s board of directors announced, was selected as the next executive director after a national search. Leathers will remain with the program to assist with the transition.
Joining in 2014, Leathers brought with her more than 12 years of experience in early childhood education and nonprofit management. She had previously served as executive director of the Nevada Association for the Education of Young Children.
During her tenure, Leathers ensured that the program maintained the highest level of standards through accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, all while serving more than 300 Long Beach children and their families each year, official said.
“Whitney’s unwavering dedication, passion and forward thinking resulted in new and better ways for Long Beach Day Nursery to prepare children for success in kindergarten and well into their future,” Board Chair Robyn Gordon-Peterson said in a statement. “Her commitment to the children and their families, love of learning, and her capacity to inspire, even in challenging times such as these, are the benchmarks of her leadership.”
“She has continued,” Gordon-Peterson added, “to build on over 100 years of rich history that will allow LBDN to thrive in years to come.”
Leathers led the development and implementation of the program’s strategic plan and initiatives, resulting in:
Expanded researched-based programs and key activities like its STEM curriculum;
An enhanced on-site early intervention program;
Early literacy, art and music programs;
Family and parent engagement workshops and events; and
A healthy connections and nutrition program.
Student enrollment, under her leadership, also increased to a fully enrolled program with an extensive student waitlist.
Also, an Early Head Start programming was launched, which included the addition of new toddler student spots.
Critical grants and funding were secured, Gordon-Peterson said, as well as new technology and resources at both LBDN branch locations.
Leathers was integral in the leadership of the Long Beach Early Childhood Education Committee, participating in Long Beach Unified School District’s P-3 (preschool-3rd grade) Committee. She also helped grow the Long Beach Early Childhood Symposium, which provided training to more than 400 Long Beach early childhood teachers annually.
“I am proud of where Long Beach Day Nursery (LBDN) is today,” Leathers said in the statement. “LBDN is in the forefront of early childhood care and education with an amazing team that is preparing children in our community for success in school and life through educational development and through nurturing their emotional, physical and social well-being.”